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290                         BYZANTINE CHURCHES                       CHAP.
the site of the monastery in his day^ and that Is how the Anonymus1 of the eleventh century and his follower Codinus 2 understand the term ; for they take special care to explain how a building which lay within the city in their day could be styled c Chora' ; because, say they. It once stood without the walls^ on territory, therefore, called by the Byzantines, %c/HW, the country. The literal meaning of a word is earlier than its artificial and poetical signification. And one can easily conceive how, when the style Chora was no longer literally correct, men abandoned the sober ground of common-sense and history to invent recondite meanings inspired by imagination and sentiment.
This conclusion is confirmed by the history of the Chora given In the Life of S. Theodore,3 an abbot of the monastery, which Mr. Gedeon discovered in the library of the Panto-krator on Mount Athos. According to that biography, S. Theodore was a relative of Theodora, the wife of Justinian the Great, and after serving with distinction in the Persian wars, and winning greater renown as a monk near Antioch, came to Constantinople about the year 530, at the Invitation of his imperial relatives, to assist in the settlement of the theological controversies of the day. Once there he was Induced to make the capital his permanent abode by permission to build a monastery, where he could follow his high calling as fully as in his Syrian retreat. For that purpose he selected a site on the property of a certain Charisius, situated, as the Chora is, on the slope of a hill, descending on the one hand steeply to the sea, and rising, on the other, to the highest point in the line of the Theodosian walls, the point marked by the gate named after Charisius (now Edirn6 Kapoussi). The site was already hallowed, says the biographer of S. Theodore, by the presence of a humble monastic retreat and a small chapel.
The edifice erected by S. Theodore was, however, soon overthrown by the severe earthquake which shook the city in 558, and all the hopes of the good man would also have
1  Banduri, iii. p, 54, xwplov fy ixeTffe gw rot? Evfavrtov.
2   De aed* p. 121, <?JcXi}07 S %cpa di&rt, r&v "Bvfavrlui' xwptov ty <m, /ca0& ml 7;
2   De aed* p. 121, (sKhtfQq S %c6pa 8i6ri. r&v "Bvfavrlui' ^
3  Written in the second quarter of the ninth century.